I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:2,3
We live in uncertain times. There is uncertainty to our health caused by the Chinese Coronavirus, and uncertainty financially because the world’s economies have shut down in reaction. Travel has been limited, restaurants are closed except for takeout, and we are supposed to be sure we stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
It’s as if someone hit “pause” on the TV remote and everything stopped. It has led to uncertainty which leads to anxiety which, in turn, leads to fear. What is the Christian response to these novel times?
For me, it was when I learned I had prostate cancer several years ago. It was an alarming diagnosis. I was less fearful when I knew for certain that I had cancer. Waiting for the medical tests results, on the other hand, was very uncomfortable and nerve wracking because of uncertainty.
Once you have certainty, you can deal with it. Until then, you are in emotional no-man’s land, often being tossed and turned by what you read in media, or worse, what you see on social media. In fact, staying off social media for the near term may be a good idea.
How do you find certainty in uncertain times? The answer, for me, comes from Psalm 91 (above) which is worth reading in its entirety. My certainty comes from my faith in God – I know that He is in control through good or bad.
I have learned the hard way not to let my circumstances dictate my faith in God. If happenings, uncertainty or circumstances control your emotions, then your happiness is totally dependent on things outside your control:
“If your happiness is based on happenings, what happens when your happenings don’t happen to happen the way you wanted them to happen.”
You might need to reread that a couple of times.
Given that the next generation – millennials and Gen Z alike – are predisposed to high levels of anxiety, I am concerned for them at a time when their world has changed overnight. School has stopped; stores and offices are closed. People, if they can, are working from home.
Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype have become a substitute for face to face meetings. Congregating together is now limited either by law or voluntarily. Some places have total lockdowns where no one is permitted out of their homes.
Even in normal times, the next generation was isolated by the digital world. They have few real friends, other than those who put “likes” on social media posts. They don’t really have a social safety net.
That increases isolation and hopelessness. Calls to 911 about suicide have increased across America. It reminds me of the quote from a man in a halfway house in Connecticut who said: “The mind alone is a dangerous place.”
At times like these, we need to remember that God is in charge and no pandemic or economic condition known to man will change that. While the chaos may seem like water overwhelming us, I am comforted by the passage from Isaiah 43:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire, you will not be burned;
and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God.”
Even though there is chaos or uncertainty and we feel overwhelmed by “rising waters”, we should never forget that there is One who is walking on the water and waves. And He loves each of us fiercely.
I mention this because of the anecdotal stories of the Portland police posting on Facebook for people to stop calling 911 because they were out of toilet paper. Or, two women shoppers in Australia fighting each other over paper towels in a store until someone broke it up.
These are adults behaving badly and, sadly, there are many more stories like this.
What do their actions show to the next generation? Unfortunately, they show panic.
The challenge is to engage the next generation in a way to allow them to have a faith in the risen One. They are spiritually looking for answers at a time like this, and we can supply them, but we need to show them by our actions not jus
We need to be the adult in the room and its our actions that are being seen and watched. Are we acting out of panic or wisdom? They can tell the difference.
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: You can be the calm in the storm in your mentee’s life at times like these. Stay in touch even if it is only virtual.
WORSHIP: Listen to Waiting Here for You – Christy Nockels
RESOURCE: Dealing with Anxiety During the Pandemic
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